Skip to main content

Future Freight Loco for Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - FFL4E (Future Freight Loco for Europe)

Período documentado: 2019-01-01 hasta 2019-07-31

Since 2008, the rail freight market has not yet recovered from the global recession and profit margins in the railway sector have been falling throughout Europe. Moreover, competitors were able to increase their capacity due to innovations. Within the last 15 years, inland vessels have increased their transport capacity by 158%, truck transportation by up to 50% while rail freight transportation only by 3% thanks to increasing the length of trains to 740 metres.

Shift2Rail IP5 addresses this issue by fostering a vision for future rail freight operation offering increased quality and efficiency while simultaneously improving the overall cost structure. The target is to shift the road freight volumes for distances beyond 300 km to other modes in the range of 30% and 50% by the years 2030 and 2050 respectively.

The FFL4E project (Future Freight Locomotive for Europe) aims at developing key technologies for future energy efficient freight locomotives, allowing highest operational flexibility and providing attractive and competitive rail freight services to the final customer, targeting in detail following aspects:

- Extreme flexibility for operation in non-electrified and in electrified lines, allowing private and public operators to offer broaden rail freight services according to demand without the need of changing the locomotive.
- Remote control for distributed power, thus, allowing the increase of the train length up to 1,500 m and consequently improving the cost efficiency of rail transport.
- Recuperation of braking energy as much as possible, store it onboard and reuse it whenever required, for traction purposes, for peak shaving or to supply auxiliaries and others.
- Last mile propulsion capabilities, sourcing the energy from a powerful on-board Li-Ion battery
- Reduction of wear and noise of freight operations by means of developing track-friendly, low-noise running gear for the future freight locomotive.
WP1 & WP2 - Management & Technical Coordination: Being a rather smaller consortium with 7 partners only, management and technical coordination has been smooth and lean. The Kick-off meeting took place on October 12, 2016, and since then, technical management team and steering committee meetings took place quarterly and biannually. In 2017 it was agreed to amend the GA for a better alignment of the task structures to the work being done, to correct some errors and to shift the dates of the deliverables and milestones to a more realistic date. In 2018 the amendment was negotiated with the JU. FFL4E received support from the OC DYNAFREIGHT with whom a collaboration agreement was put in place.

WP3 - Future Freight Locomotives focused on two technical distinct topics. 1) A detailed study with simulations for specific use cases for hybrid propulsion systems was done. Conclusions were considered also in WP4 and will be the base for further work in FR8HUB and FR8RAIL II. A paper was prepared together with WP4 and submitted for the TRA 2018 in Vienna, published as full paper and presented on podium. The results were summarized in D3.3. WP3, also evaluated different radial steering concepts and developed a prototype of the most promising one. Bogies with this technology will reduce massively wear and noise emissions. The results have been summarized in deliverable D3.1 & D3.2.

WP4 - Full Electric LM Propulsion System studied various use cases for catenary free operation in Sweden (D4.1). Important track sections were described, and it was studied what type of locomotive (hybrid and full electric locomotives with LM propulsion system), would fit best for these track sections. Based on the results of the study above and internal know-how of Bombardier Transportation, a concept and the specifications (D4.2) for a full electric last mile system has been done. A small Li-Ion battery, meant to become a building block, has been procured. Several integration and related protection concepts were evaluated and finally, as no locomotive could be provided for the demonstration, it was decided to prepare the demonstration setup in Bombardier's battery lab in Mannheim Germany (option according to the DoA – D4.3)). Also, a first safety analysis D4.2. was done.

WP5 - Long Trains started by setting up the functional requirements and, with the support of an external consultant, a safety management concept. The approach of how to perform longitudinal simulations was systematically aligned within the partners of the OC consortium DYNAFREIGHT. Furthermore, the functional breakdown structure and the interfaces between the various subsystems were defined. Important result of this project was the selection of the radio technology to be GSM-R - a standards used all over Europe, easily replaceable later on by 5G. Also, mechanical electrical and SW integration was done on the two Bombardier locomotives belonging to DBC. The systems were commissioned on test tracks. Finally, a successful demonstration was done in May & June 2019 with a 750m commercial train having the tail locomotive remote controlled. The results were summarized in the D5.1-5.5. A movie was created and will be used for dissemination activities starting form Q4/2019. The results are the base for the activities in FR8RAIL II, where the technology is further developed.

WP6 – Dissemination has increased in intensity, with the participation to various conferences and fairs, among others in 2018 TRA, Innotrans, RAILCON, S2R Midterm conference. In 2019 the project presented the results during its final conference. As most of the activities are being further pursued in FR8HUB and FR8RAIL II, further dissemination can be expected. Planned is the SFT in Dresden in 2020, the Innotrans 2020. FFL4E also expects to have see first commercial activities regarding radial steering and long train technology.
The work performed until now led to following important results:
Several use cases for hybrid propulsion analysed and documented. Analytical setup defined to evaluate the size (kWh) of required battery to run on non-electrified networks.
Decision on one specific bogie design for reducing wheel wear and track access charges. A prototype of the radial steering system has been tested in real conditions and is offered already to customers.
Last mile battery building block successfully tested in battery lab. The next step is being done in FR8HUB, a larger battery is being engineered. Goal: TRL5/6.
Decision on the radio system to be used for the distributed power (DPS): GSM-R
Successful commissioning and demonstration of the distributed power technology (DPS) and DPS functions.

The last point will have following socio economic impact:
Reduction of implementation costs
Open technology (distributed power) to different suppliers of rail applications
Faster dissemination of the technology all over Europe and across operators and rail vehicle developer
IP5 vision highlighting the contribution of FFL4E